December 2017

Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #142: December 2017

Safe Routes to School E-News is a monthly email newsletter published by the Safe Routes Partnership. We are also on Facebook and Twitter. Join us!

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  1. Stay Up to Date on Regional Policy
  2. It’s Crunch Time for Congress
  3. $10,000 Awarded in Southern Nevada and Michigan for K-8 Schools
  4. Year End Giving-Cass
  5. Take Action for Bikes
  6. Resources to Inspire Your Safe Routes to School Work
  7. Success in Cherokee Nation
  8. Let Us Help You!
  9. Goodbye 2017

Stay Up to Date on Regional Policy
The Safe Routes Partnership, with generous support from Kaiser Permanente, works in several metropolitan areas around the country on regional policy.  Our staff collaborates with other advocates and organizations to push for increased regional and county funding and plans and policies that support active transportation and Safe Routes to School—such as Vision Zero, Complete Streets, and Regional Transportation Plans.  We recently launched a new Regional Policy section of our website where you can learn more about our work in California, DC and Baltimore, and the Pacific Northwest and get ideas for your own region!

It’s Crunch Time for Congress

In the waning days of the year, Congress is attempting to reach agreement on federal spending levels, enact a tax package, and pass an automated vehicles framework bill.  USDOT has issued a draft strategic plan and is trying to remove consideration of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.  Learn more about all of these efforts in our latest federal policy blog


$10,000 Awarded in Southern Nevada and Michigan for K-8 Schools
Students, families, and school staff at eight schools in Nevada and seven in Michigan have won awards for their school for tracking the most physical activity during the month-long Fire Up Your Feet Challenge this fall.

Physical activity is essential to supporting the physical, mental, and emotional health of students, families, schools, and communities. Between October 1 and October 31, over thirty K-8 schools in Southern Nevada and Michigan participated in the friendly competition by tracking the minutes they spent walking, biking, and doing other types of physical activity. Schools could win awards in several categories, including most overall participation and most minutes tracked. Schools received a total of $10,000 this fall. A special thank you to our generous sponsors Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Amerigroup Foundation, CareMore Foundation, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan Department of Transportation, State Farm, and Michigan Safe Routes to School.

“Each year, we hear inspiring stories from schools that used the Fire Up Your Feet Activity Challenge to engage students, families, and school staff around traditions that support healthy lifestyles like Walk or Bike to School Day – often leading to permanent changes that make schools and streets safer and healthier for kids. The whole community truly benefits when schools embrace a culture of physical activity,” said Cass Isidro, executive director of the Safe Routes Partnership.

Fire Up Your Feet is a core program of the Safe Routes Partnership, which works to create healthy communities by advancing safe walking, bicycling, and physical activity. Winning schools use the Fire Up Your Feet award money to purchase PE and sports equipment, install bike racks, or support other physical activity and walking and biking programs.


Support Equitable, Fair, and Welcoming Streets in Every Community

Low-income kids are twice as likely to walk to school as higher income counterparts, but they are walking and biking in dangerous conditions. The obstacles encountered in our car-centric society for those who do not have consistent access to a car affect low-income children and people of color more profoundly, making it more dangerous to get to school and work, and limiting access to daily needs.

Your donation supports communities working to bring #SafeRoutesTo low-income communities and communities of color with sidewalks, bike paths, street lighting, and other features to make streets and neighborhoods safe for walking and biking. Give now to support this work.   



Take Action for Bikes!

PeopleForBikes joins with the Safe Routes Partnership and other state, local and national advocacy groups in asking people to voice their support for the Bicycle Commuter Tax Benefit. This benefit has been cut in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Learn more and send your representative an email today!

Resources to Inspire Your Safe Routes to School Work

Need some pointers on how to build an awesome working relationship with your school board, principal, or local elected officials? Look no further! Safe Routes to School: A Primer to Understanding the Role of School Boards and Principals and Safe Routes to School: A Primer to Understanding the Role of Local Elected Officials are two free, informative fact sheets on how to do just that. They are two of many helpful school resources on the Safe Routes Partnership’s website that will support your work at the local level with lessons learned from fellow Safe Routes to School practitioners and leaders.


Success in Cherokee Nation

Hot on the heels of Native American Heritage month, it seems appropriate to celebrate the success of a local partner, Cherokee Nation Public Health, and their Safe Routes to School efforts. Click here to read more.


Let Us Help You!

The Safe Routes Partnership is uniquely positioned to help individuals and communities seeking to advance Safe Routes to School, shared use, and active transportation. Through our individualized technical assistance we provide strategic support to local, regional, and state program and policy leaders. Once we understand your needs, our expert staff can help guide your policy and programmatic change efforts. For more information on how we can work with you, please reach out to our policy and program director, Sara Zimmerman.

Goodbye 2017

Most of us would be hard pressed to think of a year as unpredictable and volatile as this year has been—filled with successes on the ground that show clear support for walking and biking to school as well as walkable communities overall but with significant, life-changing challenges for many people, many families and many communities. We have been looking towards 2018 for some time now and we see change in our future, we see hope on the horizon and we remain committed to serving as a  catalyst for the creation of safe, active, equitable and healthy communities—urban, suburban and rural— throughout the United States.  We look forward to continuing this journey with you and thank you for your extra effort and support during this challenging year.

--Cass Isidro

President and Executive Director